In this paper, I take a critical look at Adler's conceptual argument against doxastic voluntarism in his book, Belief's Own Ethics. In making his case, Adler defends evidentialism as the true version of how beliefs are acquired. That is, the will has no direct influence on belief. After a careful exposition of the argument itself, focus is placed on Adler's response to a particularly troubling objection to the form of evidentialism that results: Can evidentialism allow that doubt may be simultaneous (...) with belief? It is in Adler's response that I find concessions that cripple his argument and offer new life to future defenses of doxastic voluntarism. In particular, his belief/confidence and weight of evidence/force of evidence distinctions result in inconsistency. If that inconsistency can be successfully demonstrated, the distinctions and the argument fall. (shrink)
These essays engage Jin Y. Park’s recent translation of the work of Kim Iryŏp, a Buddhist nun and public intellectual in early twentieth-century Korea. Park’s translation of Iryŏp’s Reflections of a Zen Buddhist Nun was the subject of two book panels at recent conferences: the first a plenary session at the annual meeting of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy and the second at the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association on a group program session sponsored by the (...) International Society for Buddhist Philosophy. This exchange also includes a response from Park. (shrink)
Some people have supposed that utility is good in itself, non-in-strumentally good, as distinct from good because conducive to other good things. And in modern versions of this view, utility often means want-satisfaction, as distinct from pleasure or happiness. For your want that p to be satisfied, is it necessary that you know or believe that p, or sufficient merely that p is true? However that question is answered, there are problems with the view that want-satisfaction is a non-instrumental good. (...) What if you want something only because you have a false belief? What if the time at which you want that p is fifty or five hundred years before the time to which p itself refers? To meet these difficulties, qualifications have to be introduced, and much has been written about how exactly these qualifications are to be framed.1 There is however what may be a rather more serious objection to the view that want-satisfaction is a non-instrumental good, or rather to the combination of that view with the principle that it is sufficient for your want that p to be satisfied simply that p is true. The objection is that this combination forces you to give undue weight to the mere acquisition of desires when you come to make judgements about changes in the value of things. It forces you to say that for any true proposition p, which initially you do not want to be true, your mere acquisition of a desire that p will, other things being equal, make the world better. Non-instrumental value can be increased merely by multiplying desires, even though everything else remains the same. Surely, however, improving the world is not as easy as that. (shrink)
Changing our minds isn't easy. Even when we recognize our views are disputed by intelligent and informed people, we rarely doubt our rightness. Why is this so? How can we become more open-minded, putting ourselves in a better position to tolerate conflict, advance collective inquiry, and learn from differing perspectives in a complex world? -/- Nathan Ballantyne defends the indispensable role of epistemology in tackling these issues. For early modern philosophers, the point of reflecting on inquiry was to understand (...) how our beliefs are often distorted by prejudice and self-interest, and to improve the foundations of human knowledge. Ballantyne seeks to recover and modernize this classical tradition by vigorously defending an interdisciplinary approach to epistemology, blending philosophical theorizing with insights from the social and cognitive sciences. -/- Many of us need tools to help us think more circumspectly about our controversial views. Ballantyne develops a method for distinguishing between our reasonable and unreasonable opinions, in light of evidence about bias, information overload, and rival experts. This method guides us to greater intellectual openness--in the spirit of skeptics from Socrates to Montaigne to Bertrand Russell--making us more inclined to admit that sometimes we don't have the right answers. With vibrant prose and fascinating examples from science and history, Ballantyne shows how epistemology can help us know our limits. (shrink)
Nathan Carlin revisits the role of religion in bioethics, an increasingly secular enterprise, and argues that pastoral theologians can enrich moral imagination in bioethics by cultivating an aesthetic sensibility that is theologically-informed, psychologically-sophisticated, therapeutically-oriented, and experientially-grounded. To achieve these ends, Carlin employs Paul Tillich's method of correlation by positioning four principles of bioethics with four images of pastoral care.
Shadow Philosophy: Plato’s Cave and Cinema is an accessible and exciting new contribution to film-philosophy, which shows that to take film seriously is also to engage with the fundamental questions of philosophy. Nathan Andersen brings Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange into philosophical conversation with Plato’s Republic , comparing their contributions to themes such as the nature of experience and meaning, the character of justice, the contrast between appearance and reality, the importance of art, and the impact of images. (...) At the heart of the book is a novel account of the analogy between Plato’s allegory of the cave and cinema, developed in conjunction with a provocative interpretation of the most powerful image from A Clockwork Orange , in which the lead character is strapped to a chair and forced to watch violent films. Key features of the book include: a comprehensive bibliography of suggested readings on Plato, on film, on philosophy, and on the philosophy of film a list of suggested films that can be explored following the approach in this book, including brief descriptions of each film, and suggestions regarding its philosophical implications a summary of Plato’s Republic , book by book, highlighting both dramatic context and subject matter. Offering a close reading of the controversial classic film A Clockwork Orange , and an introductory account of the central themes of the philosophical classic The Republic , this book will be of interest to both scholars and students of philosophy and film, as well as to readers of Plato and fans of Stanley Kubrick. (shrink)
Mrs. Vogul wore the same zip‐up white fleece and leather sandals for thirty‐one days of her husband's hospitalization. She slept in the empty bed in his two‐person room or in a chair. When she couldn't sleep, she stood motionless in the hallway like a gargoyle protecting his room. During each crisis, Mrs. Vogul frowned in the doorway, telling us which tests to order and which interventions we were allowed to try. When we supported his breathing with an oxygen mask, she (...) took it off. “Don't try to put that mask back on him again!” she warned as he gasped for air. Despite this, Mr. Vogul was “full code.” If he were to stop breathing on his own, she wanted us to intubate him. If his heart were to stop, she wanted us to try to restart it. With no advance directive to guide us, we deferred these decisions to Mrs. Vogul, despite what sometimes seemed like contradictions in what she wanted for her husband. (shrink)
One problem facing those who attempt to reconcile divine foreknowledge with human freedom is to explain how a temporal God can have knowledge of the future, if the future does not exist. In her recent book, The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge , Linda Zagzebski attempts to provide an explanation by making use of a fourdimensional model in which the past, present and future exist. In this note I argue that the model Zagzebski offers to support the coplausibility of divine (...) foreknowledge and human freedom is inconsistent with the A-theory of time she propounds. (shrink)
Despite recognition of the importance of family in health‐care and progress in family theory development, there has been limited transfer of family theory to acute care nursing practice. We argue that this family theory–practice gap results from a persistent lack of conceptual clarity in family nursing and other barriers. Lack of conceptual clarity takes the form of conceptual overlap and semantic inconsistency, as well as the complexity of language found in the family nursing literature. Barriers include practice contexts, relational problems, (...) and knowledge types. Our exploration begins with a brief discussion of the intimate link between nursing theory and practice followed by an overview of some issues associated with the family nursing theory–practice gap. Based on a synthesis of family nursing literature, problems associated with conceptual clarity in family nursing theory are explored. We conclude with recommendations for family nursing research to develop concepts grounded in nursing practice. (shrink)
Two theses figure centrally in work on the epistemology of disagreement: Equal Weight (‘EW’) and Uniqueness (‘U’). According to EW, you should give precisely as much weight to the attitude of a disagreeing epistemic peer as you give to your own attitude. U has it that, for any given proposition and total body of evidence, some doxastic attitude is the one the evidence makes rational (justifies) toward that proposition. Although EW has received considerable discussion, the case for U has not (...) been critically evaluated. Endorsing U, we argue, commits one to the highly controversial thesis that whatever fixes your rational attitudes can do so only by fixing what evidence you have. This commitment imposes a relatively demanding requirement on justified belief in U, one that we argue is not satisfied by what is currently the strongest available case for U, due to Roger White . Our challenge to U makes more trouble for its proponents than do the worries about U expressed by Gideon Rosen  and Thomas Kelly . Moreover, if Kelly  is correct in thinking that EW “carries with it a commitment to” U—a claim which we accept for reasons similar to Kelly’s but is beyond this paper’s scope (but see Ballantyne and Coffman [forthcoming])—then our challenge to U bears importantly on EW: to the extent that our challenge to U succeeds, EW also suffers. (shrink)
We think we know what healers do: they build on patients' irrational beliefs and treat them in a 'symbolic' way. If they get results, it's thanks to their capacity to listen, rather than any influence on a clinical level. At the same time, we also think we know what modern medicine is: a highly technical and rational process, but one that scarcely listens to patients at all. In this book, ethnopsychiatrist Tobie Nathan and philosopher Isabelle Stengers argue that this (...) commonly posed opposition between traditional and modern medicine is misleading. They show instead that healers are interesting precisely because they don't listen to patients, using techniques of 'divination' rather than 'diagnosis'. Healers construct genuine therapeutic strategies by identifying the origins of symptoms in external forces, outside of the mind of the sufferer, and in this regard African healers are virtuosos. Though it may claim otherwise, modern medicine, for its part, is characterised by empiricism rather than rationality. What appears to be the pursuit of rationality is ultimately only a means to dismiss and exclude other forms of treatment. Blurring the distinctions between traditional and modern practices and drawing on perspectives from across the globe, this ethnopsychiatric manifesto encourages us to think in radically new ways about illness, challenging accepted notions on the relationship between sufferer and symptom. It will be of great interest to those working in medicine and healthcare, as well as anthropologists, social scientists and those in the humanities more broadly. (shrink)
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has developed and progressively refined an argument against moral intuitionism—the view on which some moral beliefs enjoy non-inferential justification. He has stated his argument in a few different forms, but the basic idea is straightforward. To start with, Sinnott-Armstrong highlights facts relevant to the truth of moral beliefs: such beliefs are sometimes biased, influenced by various irrelevant factors, and often subject to disagreement. Given these facts, Sinnott-Armstrong infers that many moral beliefs are false. What then shall we think (...) of our own moral beliefs? Either we have reason to think some of our moral beliefs are reliably formed or we have no such reason. If the latter, our moral beliefs are unjustified. If we have reason to think some moral beliefs are reliably formed, then those beliefs are not non-inferentially justified, because then we’ll have reason to accept something—namely, that they are reliably formed—that entails or supports those beliefs. But then, either way, our moral beliefs are not non-inferentially justified, and so moral intuitionism is false. This paper takes issue with Sinnott-Armstrong’s interesting and widely discussed argument, which we here call the Empirical Defeat Argument (EDA). According to us, the EDA does not defeat moral intuitionism. In section 1, we will set out the argument, briefly reviewing the rationale Sinnott-Armstrong offers for the premises. Then, in section 2, we identify a critical but dubious epistemological assumption concerning the nature of defeat that undergirds the argument. Finally, in section 3, we will defend our challenge to the EDA by answering two objections. (shrink)
Rather infamously, Kit Fine provided a series of counter-examples which purport to show that the modalist program of analysing essence in terms of metaphysical necessity is fundamentally misguided. Several would-be modalists have since responded, attempting to save the position from this Finean Challenge. This paper evaluates and rejects a trio of such responses, from Della Rocca, Zalta, and Gorman. But I’m not here arguing for Fine’s conclusion – ultimately, this is a fight amongst friends, with Della Rocca, Zalta, Gorman, and (...) I all wanting to be modalists, but disagreeing on the details. As such, while my primary aim is to show what’s wrong with this trio, the secondary aim is demonstrating how what’s right about them in fact pushes one towards my own sparse modalist account. So while the primary conclusion of this paper is negative, the secondary, positive, conclusion is that modalists shouldn’t give up hope – plausible responses to Fine are still out there. (shrink)
What makes for a good education? What does one need to count as well-educated? Knowledge, to be sure. But knowledge is easily forgotten, and today's knowledge may be obsolete tomorrow. Skills, particularly in critical thinking, are crucial as well. But absent the right motivation, graduates may fail to put their skills to good use. In this book, Nathan King argues that intellectual virtues-traits like curiosity, intellectual humility, honesty, intellectual courage, and open-mindedness-are central to any education worthy of the name. (...) Further, such virtues are crucial to our functioning well in everyday life, in areas as diverse as personal relationships, responsible citizenship, civil discourse, and personal success. Our struggles in these areas often result from a failure to think virtuously. Drawing upon recent work in philosophy and psychology, King paints a portrait of virtuous intellectual character-and of the vices such a character opposes. Filled with examples and applications, this book introduces readers to the intellectual virtues: what they are, why they matter, and how we can grow in them. (shrink)
Economists have long treated technological phenomena as events transpiring inside a black box and, on the whole, have adhered rather strictly to a self-imposed ordinance not to inquire too seriously into what transpires inside that box. The purpose of Professor Rosenberg's work is to break open and examine the contents of the black box. In so doing, a number of important economic problems be powerfully illuminated. The author clearly shows how specific features of individual technologies have shaped a number of (...) variables of great concern to economists: the rate of productivity improvement, the nature of learning processes underlying technological change itself, the speed of technology transfer, and the effectiveness of government policies that are intended to influence technologies in particular ways. The separate chapters of this book reflect a primary concern with some of the distinctive aspects of industrial technologies in the twentieth century, such as the increasing reliance upon science, but also the considerable subtlety and complexity of the dialectic between science and technology. Other concerns include the rapid growth in the development of costs associated with new technologies as well as the difficulty of predicting the eventual performance characteristics of newly emerging technologies. (shrink)
The aim of this chapter is to explain why Locke thinks religious belief requires evidence and, on his view, what evidence there is for religious belief. I will explain and defend Locke’s view that revelation can provide evidence for religious beliefs so long as there is evidence that God revealed it. Further, I will show how he takes the historical evidence of the miracles of Jesus as justification for belief in Christianity.
The past decade and a half has seen an absolute explosion of literature discussing the structure of reality. One particular focus here has been on the fundamental. However, while there has been extensive discussion, numerous fundamental questions about fundamentality have not been touched upon. In this chapter, I focus on one such lacuna about the modal strength of fundamentality. More specifically, I am interested in exploring the contingent fundamentality thesis - that is, the idea that the fundamentalia are only contingently (...) fundamental (or, in property-terms, that the property of being fundamental is not a (weakly) necessary property). And while I think this thesis is plausible – indeed, I show here that it lurks in the unexamined shadows/assumptions of some fairly prominent positions – as far as I can tell, nothing has been said either for or against it. Here, I hope to fix this by giving the thesis a proper airing. In this way, this chapter represents a first-pass at exploring not only the modal status of fundamentality, but also offers a starting point for examining broader issues about the relationship between fundamentality and modality. (shrink)
I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's CDF is to (...) express a practical (non-representational) state of mind—one concerning an agent's preferences and plans, rather than her beliefs. -/- Opposed to speech act accounts is a preponderance of views which deny that a sentence's linguistic meaning is a matter of what speech act it is used to perform, or its CDF. On such accounts, meaning is, instead, a matter of "static" properties of the sentence—e.g., how it depicts the world as being (or, more neutrally, the properties of a model-theoretic object with which the semantic value of the sentence co-varies). On one version of a static account, an imperative 'shut the window!' might, for instance, depict the world as being such that the window must be shut. -/- Static accounts are traditionally motivated against speech act-theoretic accounts by appeal to supposedly irremediable explanatory deficiencies in the latter. Whatever a static account loses in saying (prima facie counterintuitively) that an imperative conventionally represents, or expresses a picture of the world, is said to be offset by its ability to explain a variety of phenomena for which speech act-theoretic accounts are said to lack good explanations (even, in many cases, the bare ability to offer something that might meet basic criteria on what a good explanation should be like). -/- I aim to turn the tables on static accounts. I do this by showing that speech act accounts are capable of giving explanations of phenomena which fans of static accounts have alleged them unable to give. Indeed, for a variety of absolutely fundamental phenomena having to do with the conventional meaning of imperatives (and other types of practical language), speech act accounts provide natural and theoretically satisfying explanations, where a representational account provides none. (shrink)
This book develops a philosophy of aesthetic experience through two socially significant philosophical movements: early German Romanticism and early critical theory. In examining the relationship between these two closely intertwined movements, we see that aesthetic experience is not merely a passive response to art-it is the capacity to cultivate true personal autonomy, and to critique the social and political context of our lives. Art is political for these thinkers, not only when it paints a picture of society, but even more (...) when it makes us aware of our deeply ingrained forms of experience in a transformative way. Ultimately, the book argues that we have to think of art as a form of truth that is not reducible to communicative rationality or scientific knowledge, and from which philosophy and politics can learn valuable lessons. (shrink)
This paper defends an interpretation of Gottlob Frege’s views on the structure of thought. I argue that Frege did not think that a thought has a unique decomposition into its component senses, but rather the same thought can be decomposed into senses in multiple, distinct ways. These multiple decompositions will often have distinct logical forms. I also argue against Michael Dummett and others that Frege was committed to the sense of a predicate being a function from the sense of a (...) name (or names) to a complete thought. I defend my Frege interpretation against a puzzle often discussed in the Frege literature; namely, that the Multiple Decompositions Thesis is incompatible with Frege’s stated view that a thought is built up out of its component senses as parts. I provide textual evidence and argument that Frege thought of the part/whole relation in such a way that a whole can be analyzed into (or built up out of) parts in multiple, distinct ways, thus dissolving the puzzle. I conclude with discussion of every sort of example of multiple decompositions that can be found in Frege's work. (shrink)
General consensus has it that contingencies lack the requisite modal umph to serve as explanations for the modal status of necessities. The central aim of this paper is to show that this received opinion is incorrect: contingent necessity-makers are in fact possible. To do so, I identify certain conditions the satisfaction of which entail the possibility of contingent necessity-makers. I then argue for two broad instances where these conditions are satisfied. Consequently, the associated necessities in fact have contingent necessity-makers.
Intellectual humility is commonly thought to be a mindset, disposition, or personality trait that guides our reactions to evidence as we seek to pursue the truth and avoid error. Over the last decade, psychologists, philosophers, and other researchers have begun to explore intellectual humility, using analytical and empirical tools to understand its nature, implications, and value. This review describes central questions explored by researchers and highlights opportunities for multidisciplinary investigation.
Locke's Education for Liberty presents an analysis of the crucial but often underestimated place of education and the family within Lockean liberalism. Nathan Tarcov shows that Locke's neglected work Some Thoughts Concerning Education compares with Plato's Republic and Rousseau's Emile as a treatise on education embodying a comprehensive vision of moral and social life. Locke believed that the family can be the agency, not the enemy, of individual liberty and equality. Tarcov's superb reevaluation reveals to the modern reader a (...) breadth and unity heretofore unrecognized in Locke's thought. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Locke takes sensitive knowledge (i.e. knowledge from sensation) to be genuine knowledge that material objects exist. Samuel Rickless has recently argued that, for Locke, sensitive knowledge is merely an “assurance”, or a highly probable judgment that falls short of certainty. In reply, I show that Locke sometimes uses “assurance” to describe certain knowledge, and so the use of the term “assurance” to describe sensitive knowledge does not entail that it is less than certain. Further, (...) I show that sensitive knowledge includes the perception of a relation between ideas, and thus it satisfies Locke’s definition of knowledge. He also repeatedly claims that sensitive knowledge is certain. So, despite recent challenges to this interpretation raised in the secondary literature, Locke really does take sensitive knowledge to be certain knowledge. (shrink)
The nature of the information content of declarative sentences is a central topic in the philosophy of language. The natural view that a sentence like "John loves Mary" contains information in which two individuals occur as constituents is termed the naive theory, and is one that has been abandoned by most contemporary scholars. This theory was refuted originally by philosopher Gottlob Frege. His argument that the naive theory did not work is termed Frege's puzzle, and his rival account of information (...) content is termed the orthodox theory. In this detailed study, Nathan Salmon defends a version of the naive theory and presents a proposal for its extension that provides a better picture of information content than the orthodox theory gives. He argues that a great deal of what has generally been taken for granted in the philosophy of language over the past few decades is either mistaken or unsupported, and consequently, much current research is focused on the wrong set of questions. Salmon dissolves Frege's puzzle as it is usually formulated and demonstrates how it can be reconstructed and strengthened to yield a more powerful objection to the naive theory. He then defends the naive theory against the new Frege puzzle by presenting an idea that yields both a surprisingly rich and powerful extension of the naive theory and a better picture of information content than that of the original orthodox theory. Nathan Salmon is Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Santa Barbara. A Bradford Book. (shrink)
Drawing on work in the Philosophy of Race, this chapter argues that the existence of races in heaven is either incompatible or only questionably compatible with the mainstream Christian view of the afterlife. However, it also argues that there is a phenomenon adjacent and related to race that can exist in the afterlife, namely racial identity. If one thinks of racial identity as a kind of practical identity, it turns out that racial identity is primarily psychological. Thus, its existence in (...) heaven is compatible with the mainstream Christian view that people with some semblance of human psychology continue on after death. Furthermore, the chapter offers reasons to think that we will need racial identities in the afterlife to facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation. Finally, it suggests that preserving racial identities from this life to the next is, on balance, preferable. (shrink)
Epistemic trespassers judge matters outside their field of expertise. Trespassing is ubiquitous in this age of interdisciplinary research and recognizing this will require us to be more intellectually modest.
There is a diversity of ‘ethical practices’ within medicine as an institutionalised profession as well as a need for ethical specialists both in practice as well as in institutionalised roles. This Brief offers a social perspective on medical ethics education. It discusses a range of concepts relevant to educational theory and thus provides a basic illumination of the subject. Recent research in the sociology of medical education and the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu are covered. In the end, the themes (...) of Bourdieuan Social Theory, socio-cultural apprenticeships and the ‘characterological turn’ in medical education are draw together the context of medical ethics education. . (shrink)
Cross-cultural comparisons face several methodological challenges. In an attempt at resolving some such challenges, Nathan Sivin has developed the framework of “cultural manifolds.” This framework includes all the pertinent dimensions of a complex phenomenon and the interactions that make all of these aspects into a single whole. In engaging with this framework, Anna Akasoy illustrates that the phenomena used in comparative approaches to cultural and intellectual history need to be subjected to a continuous change of perspectives. Writing about comparative (...) history, Warwick Anderson directs attention to an articulation between synchronic and diachronic modes of inquiry. In addition, he asks: If comparative studies require a number of collaborators, how does one coordinate the various contributors? And how does one ensure that the comparison is between separate entities, without mutual historical entanglement? Finally, how does comparative history stack up against more dynamic approaches, such as connected, transnational, and postcolonial histories? Gérard Colas, for his part, claims that comparisons cannot allow one to move away from the dominant Euroamerican conceptual framework. Should this indeed be the case, we should search for better ways of facilitating a “mutual pollination” between philosophies. Finally, Edmond Eh first asserts that Sivin fails to recognize the difference between comparisons within cultures and comparisons between cultures. He then argues that the application of generalism is limited to comparisons of historical nature. (shrink)
How Superheroes Model Community examines superheroes as a community engaged in protecting the public sphere. Nathan Miczo highlights and explores the interpersonal and communicative practices that are necessary to being a member of such a community.
While it is tempting to suppose that an act has moral worth just when and because it is motivated by sufficient moral reasons, philosophers have, largely, come to doubt this analysis. Doubt is rooted in two claims. The first is that some facts can motivate a given act in multiple ways, not all of which are consistent with moral worth. The second is the orthodox view that normative reasons are facts. I defend the tempting analysis by proposing and defending a (...) heterodox account of both normative and motivating reasons that is inspired by Donald Davidson’s primary reasons. We should adopt the heterodox view, I argue, because it addresses an overlooked but fatal defect in the orthodox conception of reasons, of which challenges to the tempting analysis are a special case. (shrink)
In Refugees, Nathan Bell argues for nothing less than a new concept of the political: that societies (liberal or not, in the mode of the sovereign state or some other form) embrace an ethos of responsibility for others, where the right to seek asylum becomes foundational for politics itself.